Vincristine - Chemotherapy Agent

rosy periwinkle
Vincristine is isolated
from the rosy periwinkle

Vincristine (also known by the brand names Oncovin and Vincasar PFS) is an old chemotherapeutic agent and natural alkaloid isolated from the plant Catharanthus roseus. It is part of the class of chemotherapy drugs known as vinca alkaloids. Vincristine works during the S phase of cell cycle by binding to microtubules and other proteins during mitosis, interfering with the cell's ability to build a structure needed to separate the chromosomes into daughter cells.1

What it's effective for and why

Vincristine is a component of many combination chemotherapy regimens against Hodgkin's lymphoma (including COPP, MOPP, Stanford V, MACOP-B, CAV, and BEACOPP), as well as B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (including CHOP, R-CHOP, EPOCH and EPOCH-R). In these combination regimens it is commonly identified by its brand name, Oncovin. It is also used in regimens against other forms of cancer, such as neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and multiple myeloma.

Despite this broad therapeutic application, vincristine is only FDA-approved for the treatment of acute leukemia.2

Vincristine side effects: Overview

It is normal to experience side effects from vincristine. Among the drug's more common side effects are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, hair loss, and general aches (in the head or jaw), fatigue, and oral blistering. Additional side effects, considered more severe, include peripheral neuropathy, fever, chills, muscle cramping, vision problems, redness or pain at the injection site, and a sore throat or hoarseness.3


  1. National Cancer Institute: Vincristine
  2. NCI: Patient information for vincristine
  3. MedlinePlus: Vincristine side effects


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